In the 1950’s, J.R. Steffy changed the way nautical archaeologists would study ancient ships. J.R. “Dick” Steffy was a self-taught scholar who turned his hobby of shipbuilding into a lifelong career. The first ship model he built was an ancient Egyptian ship from 1300 BC. It took Steffy 12 years to create this first model. From Steffy’s hobby came the introduction of model ship reconstruction into nautical archaeology. The model is now housed in the INA headquarters along with many of the items used or created by Steffy including: slides, tools, the Egyptian ship model, and original drawings.
J.R. Steffy’s Toolkit: J.R. Steffy kept his model-making tools in this wooden Bolla wine box. Tools included this wooden chisel set, model planers, brass shim, and a specially made model hammer.
The Egyptian ship model was removed from exhibit on February 27, 2016 to undergo some much needed cleaning. Years of dust had accumulated on and between the tiny planks. The model was meticulously cleaned by INAA intern, Jessica Conklin using cotton swabs and dilute isopropyl alcohol. Some minor repairs to the rigging were also made. Cleaning was completed that day and the model was replaced on exhibit.